A healthy life for the mind and body
631 - 477 - 2006 or 631 - 477 - 6912
425 9th Street Greenport, N.Y. 11944
Not only our geometry and our physics, but our whole conception of what exists outside us, is based on the sense of touch.” – Bertrand Russell
Touch is the first of the senses to develop in all species studied; as humans, our skin rich with touch receptors, is our first link to communication. Gently stroking the face of a human embryo in utero, though it has neither eyes or ears, causes it to extend away from the stimulus. As our relay station between the brain and the outer world, therefore, we can consider the skin the “exposed portion “ of the nervous system.
Skin is the organ massage therapists contact and affect most directly. It composes six to eight percent of body weight, weighs approximately eight pounds and covers eighteen square feet. A segment of skin the size of a quarter contains over three million cells, up to roughly three hundred sweat glands, three feet of blood vessels and numerous nerve endings. It has distinct sensory receptors for cold, heat, light touch, pressure and pain.
As an organ the skin is multi-functional. It stands as a barrier between the rest of us and our environment and so acts as a switchboard for vital information about the conditions around us. It protects us mechanically by producing waterproof keratin, and acids against many bacteria. Chemically, skin produces pigments that protect us from harmful radiation and vitamin C for calcium absorption. It insulates us by storing fat and secreting oil. It regulates our internal temperature and eliminates waste through perspiration. But most vital to our psychological well being and critical to our development is its role as the organ that enables us to communicate through touch.
Deane Juhan writes, “We can never touch just one thing; we always touch two at the same instant, an object and ourselves, and it is in the simultaneous interplay between these two contiguities that the internal sense of self – different from both the collection of body parts and the collection of external objects -- is encountered.” In fact, disorientation as a result of loss of the sense of touch through blockage of the tactile sensory apparatus can lead to psychosis.
A study at the University of Miami on premature babies found that babies that were stroked regularly gained weight forty-nine percent faster than did those of the same weight who were not stroked. Both groups of babies were fed the same amount of food. The stroked babies were longer and had larger heads and had fewer neurological problems at eight months of age than did the controls. Babies who are not touched and cuddled, even though they are cared for physically , are at great risk of death from the elusive diagnosis, “failure to thrive.”
Observations as early as the nineteenth century showed that human infants, when deprived of maternal contact shortly after birth, had diminished appetite, became depressed and suffered from severe physical and mental retardation or even died of a “wasting syndrome.” Even into the 1920’s, the mortality rate for infants in institutions was extremely high. The few attendants available to these children had barely enough time to clean and feed the babies before depositing them in their cribs. No amount or quality of nutrition, cleanliness or medicine could replace the tactile stimulation infants need in early life.
Dr. J.M. Knox did a study in Baltimore of many foundling institutions and saw that almost 90% of the infants died within a year of admission while the remaining 10% survived when they were taken into foster homes periodically. All the children were given adequate care in meeting their physiological needs for shelter, food and warmth. But without physical touch and handling they consistently failed to thrive.
In the late 1920’s, “mothering,” including holding, touching and rocking, was officially instituted on some pediatric wards in many hospitals as a result of these observations. At Bellevue Hospital in New York, the mortality rates for infants less than a year old fell from 30 – 35% to less than 10% by 1938 because of these changes.
In fact, in these ways, touch is as important to survival as eating. The symptoms of sensory deprivation in all children observed in these and other studies are remarkably similar to the symptoms of malnutrition: retarded bone growth, failure to gain weight, poor muscle tone, susceptibility to infection and apathy.
Evidence has shown that cocaine-addicted premature babies, given a fifteen minute massage twice daily, thrive more quickly than those not massaged. The infants studied gained weight faster and were generally more responsive, having higher scores on their standard assessment tests.
The newly established Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami has undertaken scientific study of the importance of touch in various populations with promising results in the hope that the positive effects of touch on various medical conditions and the reasons for these effects can be documented and accepted. So far, the Institute has conducted studies on the effects of touch and particularly massage therapy on newborns, infants, preschool children, neglected and abused children, autistic children, children with diabetes, adolescent mothers, adolescents suffering from severe eating disorders and depression, adults on the job, adults with HIV, adults with spinal cord injuries, couples with sexual difficulties and the elderly.
Perhaps this new research will lead to greater acceptance and accessibility of the use of massage as a viable medical need for the betterment of the health of the citizenry of the modern world and its fast-paced life style.
Bruce Berger is a hospital experienced N.Y. State licensed and Nationally Certified Massage Therapist whose practice is in Long Island, N.Y. Among his practiced modalities are Therapeutic Massage, Swedish Massage, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Pre-Natal Massage, Hot Stone Massage, and Yoga.
Muscles comprise 40 % of the human body's weight. Muscles, tendons,and ligaments make up the soft tissue network of the human anatomy that is known as fascia. Eighty percent of nerve impingements, resulting in pain and discomfort develop from soft tissue impinging on the nerves. A massage therapist's ability to manipulate and properly align these soft tissues significantly reduces or entirely eliminates pain from impingements. Acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain brings more patient to doctors' offices than any other categories combined (Andrew Weil M.D., Spontaneous Healing).
A massage therapist can manipulate soft tissue which in turn control by its movement the bones. Primarily, this is done by relaxing overly contracted muscles and stimulating overly stretched muscles. This can be achieved by the use of certain massage strokes, acupressure, passive stretching, myofascial release, a technique where the hands hold certain muscles in a gentle yet firm manner which enables the impinged area to release itself.
Imbalances such as fibromyalgia where severe muscle tightness limits movement are also dealt with through the use of massage being implemented with cross fiber friction strokes to the areas of tightness coupled with light effluerage and gentle rocking which when applied loosens adhesions where soft tissue layers are stuck to other soft tissue layers. The use of these techniques helps to melt these areas from each other.
A massage therapist must assess each patient's problems be it physical or emotional before deciding which course of bodywork treatment to pursue.
"S H I A T S U"
Shiatsu is a form of bodywork that originated in the Orient, mainly China and Japan. It works via the implementation of touch along the energy pathways of the body’s organs (ex. heart, kidneys, liver, etc.) which are known as meridians. Each meridian is a line of energy traced along a specific path of the body. Each meridian is comprised of tsubos or pressure points that need to be pressed for the preservation of balanced chi or energy of the organ. Unlike acupuncture, shiatsu does not use needles. It is done with the practitioner’s finger, hand or elbow. Unlike Western massage, the client does not need to disrobe and no oil or cream is used. Shiatsu can be administered effectively on a massage table as well as the floor.
Meridians are paths of a flow of electric energy that do not correspond in an anatomical definition, but rather can be described as blood passing through veins. According to the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, when chi does not flow freely through these meridians, it becomes stagnant and can cause disease and health problems. Every ailment can be explained as an imbalance of chi or energy. Along these meridians are over 300 pressure points or “gateways” where the chi may become blocked and thus cause an unhealthy imbalance. It is the job of the Shiatsu professional to release the chi blocked in these tsubos and restore balance to the body.
Shiatsu is uniquely Japanese. It is the combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine with the ideas of acupuncture, but in a non-invasive manner. Shiatsu is a Japanese word comprised of “shi” meaning finger and “atsu” meaning pressure. Thus, through the technique of finger pressure, stretching, sweeping strokes, shaking, rotating, grasping, and plucking movements the energy or chi is moved and balanced. Shiatsu employs gentle fluid motions to work out the imbalance of chi within the body.
Shiatsu uses simple, but powerful experiences of touch to awaken the healing powers of the body. It is a reciprocal system between the giver and the receiver where powerful self-healing forces are exchanged.
There is an emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental release during a Shiatsu therapy session. The body’s natural healing power is ultimately stimulated and enhanced through this technique. Among some of Shiatsu’s benefits are the following:
1/ Strengthening the immune system.
2/ Relieving anxiety and irritability
3/ Relieving fatigue
4/ Lowering blood pressure
5/ Enhancing circulation
6/ Relieving muscular pain (ie. neck, shoulder, lower back).
7/ Preventing headaches.
8/ Alleviating insomnia.
9/ Reducing Premenstrual Syndrome.
10/ Improving the lymphatic system.
Bruce Berger is a hospital experienced N.Y. State Licensed and Nationally Certified Massage Therapist whose practice is in Long Island, N.Y. Among his practiced modalities are Therapeutic Massage, Swedish Massage, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Pre-Natal Massage, Hot Stone Massage, and Yoga. His office is in Greenport.
He can be reached at 631- 477 - 2006.
Reiki is an ancient healing art of Tibetan origin. Reiki is an energy therapy thatserves to enhance and produce the body's natural healing capabilities.
Light hand positions bring you into a deep state of tranquility, which heals, balances, and releases stress in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies.
Reiki utilizes holistic, hands-on-healing techniques for restoring harmony and providing deep relaxation and a sense of clarity, as it allows the body's energy channels to become balanced while the mind becomes more focused. One leaves a session in a much more tranquil state.
This healing art has been known to benefit such diverse disorders as allergies, asthma, cardiovascular irregularities, depression, diabetes, rheumatoid and osteo - arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, heavy metal poisoning (which is so prevalent in Long Island), as well as sexual and fertility issues. In addition, it is a most useful treatment for those recovering from illness and / or surgery.
You can be seen at one of our three Reiki Centers in Long Island, or we can come to your home, business, or special group event.
Your Reiki treatment can be administered with reflexology for a portion of the session, if you so choose.
Up until the 20th Century massaging patients was an integral part of a doctor’s practice. A doctor was not considered competent or reliable unless his massage technique was effective. Unfortunately due to time constraints and the boundaries of medical insurance the medical profession has lost touch with touch.
Nowadays, more and more doctors are turning to Massage Therapists as well as therapists of other touch modalities to treat their patients.. There are many reasons why massage and touch therapy are making a comeback. One is to provide alternative modalities to those suffering with chronic pain. Another is to exhaust remedy before referring the patient to a specialist for an operation. It has also been recognized that often physical pain is caused by emotional stress and anxiety which massage greatly helps to alleviate.
Massage is the system of repetitious touch that allows healing and balance to develop in the body and mind of the receiver. The intent of therapeutic touch is not to affect change in a specific area of the body, but rather to affect change in the whole body. Thus, every cell of the body after a treatment of therapeutic touch can be working more efficiently.
By working in this wholistic manner the therapist is more likely to rid the patient of pain and stress found any where in the body. For example, one may have neck or back pain induced by sore feet or ankles. By addressing the lower extremities during the massage the therapist can discover that the cause of the patient’s back pain was from an uneven and unsteady gait created by untreated calluses on their feet.
Therapeutic massage involves the soft tissue release of the muscles, tendons and ligaments which enables the patient to realize greater flexibility. When passive stretching is included in a session, the receiver will experience a further release and improved range of motion.
An experienced massage therapist employs a variety of strokes and methods of palpation during the session that help to open up the body’s many nerve pathways and muscles that surround the nerve network. Tight muscles lack blood and thus cannot function properly until this condition is reversed. The nerve network, the muscles, and soft tissue are nourished with oxygen during the massage as more blood is entering these areas.
It is helpful when the massage therapist has a coordinated knowledge of exercise and movement, diet and nutrition, hydrotherapy, herbology, homeopathy, and any other healing modality that can help the patients help themselves between treatments.
At times patients experience such relief that they may develop a dependency on their massage therapist. This is not helpful to the healing process. Instead, they should view the therapist as a catalyst who induces the healing process. Thus, the patient is an active partner in their own healing process and needs to understand that for sustained balance of their body, mind, and spirit they need to do their part as well. This daily maintenance of proper exercise, diet, and relaxation is essential between massage treatments.
Some of the beneficial effects of massage therapy are the following:
1/ Dilates the blood vessels, improving circulation and relieving congestion throughout the body.
2/ Increases the number of red blood cells which is very beneficial in cases of anemia.
3/ Helps to return venous blood to the heart, thus easing the strain on this vital organ.
4/ Acts as a cleansing agent, stimulating lymph circulation and hastening the elimination of toxins.
5/ Increases the excretion via the kidneys of fluids and waste products of protein metabolism, inorganic phosphorus, and salt.
6/ Relaxes muscle spasms and relieves tension.
7/ Improves muscle tone and helps prevent muscular atrophy caused by inactivity.
8/ Aids in the retention of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur necessary for tissue repair for those recovering from bone fractures.
9/ Improves the circulation and nutrition of joints and speeds up the elimination of harmful deposits that can settle there which lessens the likelihood of inflammation and swelling in the joints.
10/ Helps to reduce edema to the extremities where swelling and fluid retention of the hands and feet becomes much less severe.
11/ Disperses edema following injury to ligaments and tendons which helps to lessen pain and fosters easier movement.
12/ Stretches connective tissue which improves its circulation and nutrition which aids in the prevention of the formation of adhesions and reduces the danger of fibrosis.
13/ Causes the release of special pain killing chemicals known as endorphins which are neurotransmitters which help elicit an euphoric feeling of contentment, well-being, and relaxation.
14/ Stimulates and nourishes the digestive organs and is very useful for large intestine blockages.
15/ Aids the body’s feeling of tactile sensation when there is numbness or tingling.
Bruce Berger is a hospital experienced N.Y. State Licensed and Nationally Certified Massage Therapist whose practice is in Long Island, N.Y. Among his practiced modalities are Therapeutic massage, Swedish massage, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Pregnancy massage, Hot Stone massage, and Yoga
You Deserve A Great Massage !
"The physician must be experienced in many things
but most assuredly in rubbing,
for rubbing can bind
a joint that is loose and loosen a joint that is bound."
Hippocrates, The Father of Western Medicine
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A Healthy Life for the Mind & Body
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